The all-encompassing changes taking place in China, its huge size and complexity as well as its growing global influence, makes China an indispensable part of our everyday lives. These ongoing processes invite a close scrutiny into the fundamental issues and forces that drive this momentous transformation. However, though information on China is becoming more and more accessible, it is the need for immediacy, as well as the nature of the main media channels, and the intrinsic obstacles of language and distance that lead to a flattening or radicalization of the information. Focusing on the "big" – the economic development, the huge infrastructure projects, or the mass production of consumer products, are not allowing much space to present the complexity of the processes, or their "small" components, such as people and places, which are in fact playing the leading roles.
The signs of these huge transformations are to be seen everywhere – in the raise of China's megacities, with the creation of new social classes, the movement of a huge body of internal migrants, and even in China's quest for a new place on the international stage. Still, they all share a common characteristic, namely the move from the local, traditional, and static to the dynamic, mobile, and global, a change that was characterized by James Clifford as moving from Roots to Routes.
In the exhibition "Social mobility in motion", the focus is the movement and mobility that stands at the heart of China's transformation. The city, the society, the individuals, are all in constant flux, as new definitions and perspectives of time, dimensions, class, and place, constructs and reconstructs, ad infinitum, China's faces. Mobility is now the name of the game, and it is taking many forms and spaces. It is economic and social, it is spatial and physical, it is urban and rural, it is upwards and downwards, it is being and disappearing...
In the exhibition, five contemporary Chinese artists present not only the dynamism of the movement itself, but also the dynamic and development of the representational method used to capture this new mobile environment. Using video-art, animation, ink drawing, alternating between color and black and white film, as well as utilizing modern and traditional iconography, different concepts of mobility are examined through a critical reflection on the processes that generate these mobile forms, the actual practices of movement in physical or social space, and their aftermath. The attempt to bridge the gaps between the past that has been deleted, amputated, interrupted, and effacement and the present that is being realized in a dynamic, incomprehensible, feverish, and absurd rhythm is both real and artificial, possible and impossible, seducing and depressing.
While the works presented are deeply rooted in a unique local context, they carry a wider relevance that stretches beyond the time and place in which they were created. The social, political, and artistic questions raised that problematize the creation process, the connection between society, environment, and artist, as well as the subject-matter of mobility, change, gaps, and movement, are linking the works themselves, as well as the available interpretations into a wider, globally weaved, network. And thus, we, as spectators rooted in varied and far removed local contexts, can reflect not only on the changes taking place in the other side of the world, but see its local appositeness among the changing frames.
List of Works:
Wang Gongxin, Horizonless, 2011. 2 Channel 2 Screen video installation, 0:32 in a loop. Courtesy of the artist.
Chen Shaoxiong, The Ink City, 2005. SD animation, audio, 3:00. Courtesy of the artist.
Wu Junyong, Flowers of Chaos, 2009. SD animation, audio, 3:35. Courtesy of the artist.
Yang Fudong & Liu Lan, 2003. 35mm b&w film. transferred to dvd, audio, 14:00. Courtesy of the artist and Suhangart gallery.
Chen Shaoxiong, The Ink History, 2010. SD animation, audio, 3:00. Courtesy of the artist.
Sun Xun, Shock of Time, 2006. Video | Single channel, 5:29. Courtesy of the artist and Suhangart gallery.
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